Almost...but not quite.

Right now, I am looking at a sky similar to the one in this picture.  The missing objects are the beautiful sunflowers at ground level.  Instead, I get blown over brand new patio furniture and gratitude at not purchasing mulch yesterday at the home improvement store.  Otherwise, my neighbor's yards would be looking fantastic and I'd be out some $200 easy.  Ah, fickle mother nature.  Spring here in the Pacific Northwest can take you on an interesting ride.  After five plus years though, I've proven I can be taught - no mulching and no patio umbrellas until after the 15th of May.

Another interesting tidbit about greenery out here in the Cascade foothills - yup, we've got plenty of it but if you want the edible kind, you have to be patient.  A handful of 65 degree days does not mean it's a good idea to get a jump start on the peppers (learned that last year).  I am tempting fate by putting in two tester cherry tomato plants (not even going to try the full size and pull the rest of my hair out).  Just two days ago, we were treated to a nice hailstorm which would've crushed my seedlings flat.  So I wait.  I like fresh beans far too much to risk them.

Speaking of waiting, still doing that with Wishful Thinking.  Letting a novel sit for a little while before diving back in to edit is just like waiting for the last little bit of foothills weather to clear on out before risking tender plants.  Too soon, you might have to start all over again and waste whatever time you might have gained.  Far too inefficient a plan for me, so as much as my impatience is beginning to take over, I'm holding out.

May Day is right around the corner.

 ~  Found a card game for the iPad which not only has my best scores, but registers daily best scores against other players as well as weekly and monthly.  The uber competitive soul in me has been trying to crack the top 50 all weekend.  Getting 2nd place right after server reset doesn't count.

~  Even though it's too early for beans, peppers, cucumbers; it's not too early for lettuce, broccoli, and dill so those went into the ground yesterday.  I am so glad I went with a raised bed garden.  For one, there is no way I can get anything as sensitive as vegetables to grow in the rock that is my yard.  For two, heat tends to get trapped earlier in a raised bed and I can fudge the sowing dates for some herbs.  I've had parsley growing since January :)

Tackling the reading backlog...

I've decided May Day is the perfect day to start editing Wishful Thinking and I'm excited to get there.  In the meantime, I've been working through my "pile" of books.  Couple hardcovers, handful through Kindle, a paperback or two.  Now, I realize I can't get through all of them before May.  I'm speedy, but not that speedy.  *shrug*  A dent is better than nothing.

Currently reading:  The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - my inspiration for today's picture.  Howard Roark is a fascinating, intriguing character who is unlike most protagonists I've ever read and I'm hoping Keating gets stuffed.  The little sympathy I had for him is dwindling with every impulsive move he makes.  I'm not surprised at my liking this book; the author and the protagonist are both INTJs.  Different.    

What I've noticed from a writing perspective is, after writing third person limited, the omniscient point of view is strange to me.  It never used to be.  I also never used to read and study setting, narrative, or internal dialogue either.  Sometimes, reading as a writer is distracting and I have to work at it.  Frustrating because first and foremost, I read for pleasure.  Could be a sign I'm not as enmeshed in the book as I should be, could be I need to take off the writing hat when I'm not working on critiques or writing related work.  Whatever the cause, once I figure out a flow, I hope to be able to switch in and out at will.  A necessity because there are some great books coming out over the summer.  

~  Why yes, I'm looking forward to the teen getting her driver's license.  It's inevitable anyway and then I can send her out for the dinner ingredient I seem to always forget to order....  

~  New short story in progress: 836 words written about three teenage mages who think they know more than they do and their insistence gets them into trouble.  Sub out mages and this story is about every teenager who ever lived.  I only wish I had magic back then, think of how fun that could've been.

The alternate reality where I am not a wuss...

In my quest to not peek at my cooling novel (sitting there so nicely on my iPad I might add), I've been keeping myself relatively busy.

Busy, being in the eye of the beholder, means my Tauren Druid is level 74.5 (as of 11:00pm last night), all my various iGadgets are sync'ed with the mothership (just learned I can't library share my iTunes when the mothership is napping though...), and I stopped waiting for my husband to downgrade our cable.  Which leads to the wuss part.

I have the pleasure of being the negotiator in the house.  Call it a personality quirk, if you will.  Just about everything that needs to happen gets processed through my brain first.  No, this doesn't bother the husband - he likes not having to be responsible for all the nuances and I geek out hard core being said responsible person.  Usually.  

Which brings me to my call with the cable company.  The only time I've not had cable was a brief 2 or 3 year stint with a satellite company.  I liked the sat. co. but with our move out west and a swank deal on the cable + equipment, well, there it is.  We started with a decent package and I knew right away we had "too much" cable.  The only ones who watch TV here are the ones who shouldn't be - the kidlets.  Couple years later and for some reason we decided the problem with our package (for non-TV watchers) - not enough cable.  Yeah, I know.  

Today, I called to downgrade.  And I wussed out.  The intention was to get rid of all movie channels and drop to just above the basic so we retained several essential kidlet channels.  The problem is, the cable company would only honor the "new customer" price for one step down, not hitting the bottom down.  I guess HBO and Starz is worth $10/month, but I still feel mission unaccomplished.

I will be hearing about this when the husband gets home.  And he will file it away for future use.  This tarnish is unlikely to become a patina.

~  It's all a distraction, baby!  

~  I did manage to outline a short story I've been kicking at around.  Itching to get back to work.  

Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos

I have to wait how long?

This past weekend, I finished the first rewrite of Wishful Thinking.  Five minutes after, a funny thought occurred to me: I couldn't wait to go back and reread it from the beginning.  And I wanted to do that right then.

I wrote this for the first time during the 2009 NaNoWriMo, the idea one I'd been kicking around for  months before.  I wrote somewhat faithfully to the first outline I drafted in October and breezed through the first draft.  I even hit my 50k words well before the November 30th deadline.  Still, I worked on, reaching The End in December at 63k.

Took the draft with me on the plane heading east for the holidays.  Read the first chapter and realized it all sucked.  Really bad.  The climax scene was anything but.  I know the common rule is to read from page one until the last without editing but I couldn't imagine wasting several hours on something I was going to rip to shreds.

So I didn't.  I put the manuscript away for almost all of January.  When I came back to it, I grabbed the first chapter and pulled out what I liked.  The plot had changed dramatically so chapter two was a goner.  Unfortunately, so was chapter three, most of four, all of... well the rest.  I think out of the first edition, I've kept about 20k words.  Even that might be a stretch.  

At the least,  I've learned I'm fairly detached from my work.  I've learned lots more stuff too and will chat about it in the coming days when I'm trying not to go back in and peek.  I'm not sure what my reaction is going to be when I reread in a couple of weeks, but I know this plot is stronger and more interesting the way I've rewritten it.  Lasting a couple of weeks is going to be the hard part.    

~  I was a laser-guided missile the last several days.  The three loads of washed and dried laundry in piles on my bed can attest to it.  As can the receipts scattered on the counter from a take-out/eat-out frenzy.  As can children who look at me and say, mommy?  Well, not really, they all still remember me, but I holed up as much as I could and cranked out the last 4k words.

~ 75,471 words, the majority fresh.  Which means for Wishful Thinking, I've written at least 130k words.  Letting that sink in.

Photo courtesy of Francesco Marino

First Page Blogfest

Kelly Lyman at Kelly's Compositions is hosting a First Page Blogfest and I'd hoped to squeeze in right at the deadline.  This entry is from my wip, Wishful Thinking, which has three scenes to go.  

#   #    #   #

Aurelie scanned the sides of the road stretching before her, seeking the perfect tree.  Only the best would do.  A stout tree for hand-crafted Aston Martins weren't made of fiberglass and spit.   She needed elegant.  Evergreen.   She wrapped her slender fingers around the leather steering wheel, feeling the powerful engine purr as she accelerated.  The DB9 handled like no other car.  A pity it needed to be sacrificed. 

The swick-flick of windshield wipers brushing away steady raindrops did not distract from her task.  Her focus rested entirely on her mission.  She wondered, when the end came, if it would hurt, if she would feel any pain.  That was partly why she wanted a big tree.  Aurelie didn't want to linger in agony, hovering between life and death for a minute longer than necessary.  Just get it over with.

A glance at the speedometer showed her cruising at forty miles per hour.  A little slow for that stretch of road if anyone else joined her.  So far, Aurelie had encountered only oncoming traffic and even those instances had been sporadic.  Rush hour and its relentless traffic had been long gone, those worker bees tucked into bed with their night lights on.  Where Aurelie drove, closer to the mountains, the road wound through miles of pine trees interspersed with open plats.  Two lanes of meandering asphalt ferrying the souls who desired gainful employment in the bigger cities without sacrificing aesthetics.  She wondered whether they realized how much of their souls had been traded long ago, how much informed consent 
they had given.